Whether they participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program or the Girl Scout Fall Product Program (or both!), everything your Girl Scouts learn prepares them to take on the world. Plus, Girl Scout Cookie proceeds stay local in your community to power amazing year-round experiences—experiences that broaden their worlds and spark their sense of wonder.
Through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, girls as young as five develop these five essential skills that will help them be successful today and throughout their lives:
But the exciting skill building isn’t just tied to the cookies themselves! Girls of all Girl Scout levels can continue honing their entrepreneurial skills by earning the Cookie Business badges, Cookie Entrepreneur Family pin, and the Financial Literacy badges year over year.
Before your cookie bosses open shop, be sure to check out these helpful troop leader resources that will empower you to:
What started with Girl Scouts selling home-baked cookies to raise money grew into enlisting professional bakers in 1936 to handle the growing demand—and the rest is history. Explore Girl Scout Cookie History to find out how cookies have helped build generations of female entrepreneurs and leaders who make the world a better place.
After paying for the cost of cookies and materials, local councils use Girl Scout Cookie proceeds to help provide Girl Scout programs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), the outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship, and more—in camps, through leadership training, and multiple other ways. A portion of the proceeds is directly managed by girls, and it’s up to them to decide how to invest their troop’s share of the earnings.
Your council will provide a breakdown of how cookie program proceeds support Girl Scout activities locally. Please share this information with girls and their families so everyone understands that product program sales make it possible for your Girl Scout council to serve girls.
Troop members share in the proceeds from a successful product program; proceeds aren’t distributed to individual girl members. Girls, however, may be eligible for rewards and credits that they put toward council-sponsored camps, programs, and Girl Scout swag. The council plan for rewards applies equally to all girls participating in the product program activity. Visit the cookie section of your council website for more information about individual rewards and troop proceeds locally.
The Girl Scout Blue Book of Basic Documents specifies that:
“All money and other assets, including property, that are raised, earned, or otherwise received in the name of and for the benefit of Girl Scouting must be held and authorized by a Girl Scout council or Girl Scouts of the USA. Such money and other assets must be used for the purposes of Girl Scouting.”
—“ Ownership of Assets,” Blue Book of Basic Documents (April 2020), page 21
Making s’mores under the stars, creating a lasting impact on your community, or ordering supplies for an eye-opening STEM project—there are limitless ways to put troop proceeds toward dynamic Girl Scout experiences! There are a few things, however, that don’t qualify for “purposes of Girl Scouting,” for instance, using troop proceeds to purchase memberships in or uniforms for another organization. We encourage all councils to remind their volunteers of this policy in order to protect the all-girl environment and to avoid diversion of Girl Scout funds.
When you are set up for success, you are better able to set up your girls for success! That’s why every year, your council provides trainings, guidelines, and procedures for conducting the Girl Scout Cookie Program and fall product program, and determines how the proceeds and product rewards system will be managed. Check the cookie section of your council’s website to find the answers you need as well as information about local trainings and resources.
Each council also selects the vendors of its choice to provide the products for their product programs. Two commercial bakers are licensed by GSUSA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers. You can also Meet the Cookies and find additional info on cookie varieties, including nutritional details.
Councils also work with vendors to offer magazine subscriptions, nut and candy products, and more for the fall product program. These companies are Ashdon Farms, Trophy Nut and M2 Media group. Each provides online tools and activities for girls to download. Magazine selection and sales may take place online—check with your council for more details.
You play an exciting role in giving your girls opportunities to practice the five skills as they learn how to think like entrepreneurs in a girl-led setting. Some of the things you’ll do include:
Not only can girls sell individually, both in person and with the online tools provided by each vendor, they can also participate in group booth sales during product programs. Your local council has additional guidance and processes to market booths and ensure they are situated in safe and appropriate locations for girls
As your Girl Scouts grow, your role will evolve from a hands-on one to providing oversight and support where needed. No matter your girls’ ages, remember that volunteers and parents/caregivers do not sell the product. Your role is to encourage your girls and let their entrepreneurial spirit soar. Learning by doing is exactly how your girls develop the business savvy and communication skills that will empower them to reach any goals they set for themselves.
Another critical task for each troop is to establish a clear accounting system for all proceeds and product during the programs. It's up to you to make sure that money is spent wisely, that excellent records are kept (remember to keep copies of all receipts in a binder or folder), and that all product is tracked. For older girls, your job is to oversee their work as they learn to keep impeccable records. Be sure to attend product program orientation or training so you are aware of the systems and helpful tools available.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program and the fall product program can be exhilarating and busy times during the troop year, but you’re never alone in your efforts! You can reach out to your service unit product program manager when you‘re feeling stuck, or you can build a cookie team to provide the support your troop needs.
Safety is the top priority while selling Girl Scout Cookies and other products. Volunteers, families, and girls should be familiar with and practice the safety guidelines outlined in local program resources as well as those available in the troop leader resources section of girlscoutcookies.org and in Safety Activity Checkpoints.
Selling Cookies Online
Will your troop use the Digital Cookie® platform to manage its cookie business? Check the specific guidelines provided by each cookie vendor before participating. Before girls use their Digital Cookie or Smart Cookie site, they should partner with their families to learn how to safely run their business online.
A few more online safety practices to keep in mind:
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a girl-led program, so online marketing and sales efforts should always be led by a Girl Scout, with the supervision of her parent or caregiver.
Girl Scouts engaging in online sales and marketing must review and apply the Digital Marketing Tips for Cookie Entrepreneurs and Their Families.
Girls, volunteers and parents must review and adhere to the Girl Scout Internet Safety Pledge, the Digital Cookie Pledge, the Supplemental Safety Tips for Online Marketing, and Girl Scouts’ Safety Activity Checkpoints for Computer and Internet Use and Cookie and Product Sales (with the exception that they may share beyond friends and family).
Sales links should never be posted to resale sites (Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace etc.).
Girls must adhere to all terms and conditions on Digital Cookie and Smart Cookie platforms. For copies of terms and conditions, please contact GSUSA, ABC, or M2 as needed.
Girl Scouts of the USA reserves the right to remove or disable the link for any reason including violation of guidance, inventory fulfillment issues, safety issues, or if sales and marketing activity goes viral and otherwise creates unanticipated disruption.
Additionally, families, girls, and volunteers should contact and collaborate with their councils and GSUSA in advance on any national news media opportunities tied to girls’ online marketing and sales efforts.
The Buddy System
Using the buddy system, the troop is divided into teams of two. Each Girl Scout is responsible for staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe to do so, and seeking help if needed. Girls are encouraged to stay near the group or buddy with another team of two so that in the event someone is injured, one person cares for the patient while two others seek help.
Cookie booths—that is, cookie pop-up sales in areas with lots of foot traffic—are a fun way for girls to connect with their community and practice their sales pitch with new customers. Booth locations must be approved by councils and facilitated within council jurisdiction, and participants must follow all council guidelines with regard to setting up, running, and taking down a booth.
Please check your local COVID-19 guidelines for any restrictions on booth locations and other safety considerations, or consider a virtual cookie booth or virtual cookie rally if it makes sense for your troop.
Create a great cookie booth experience for your girls by:
And keep in mind:
For more tips to make your booth a success, check out our Cookie Booth Essentials. For additional information about setting up a booth and safety and security suggestions, consult your council guidelines
Cookies also help girls make a big impact in their community! Your council may have an established cookie donation program where customers can purchase cookies that will be donated to an organization by your council. Cookie donations are not only a great talking point for girls to share with their customers—they’re also a thoughtful way to show girls how cookies can help them give back.
With cookie donations, remember that:
Girl Scout Cookies are well loved and for good reason—it has always been the practice of Girl Scout councils and the bakers to guarantee customer satisfaction with their delicious cookies. If a customer is not satisfied with the quality of their cookies for some reason, they can contact the baker via the phone number printed on the side of the cookie package.
Troops should notify their council if they are aware of any customer dissatisfaction.
Focusing on entrepreneurial outcomes has always been the focus of the Girl Scout Cookie Program. The cookie program has never been about and does not focus on individual girls’ sales results.
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